July 21, 2024
Biodegradable Implants

The Future Is Bioresorbable: An Overview Of Bioresorbable Implants

As medical technology continues advancing at a rapid pace, researchers are developing new types of implants that can safely dissolve inside the human body over time. Known as bioresorbable implants, these temporary scaffolds provide structural support where needed and then degrade as the body naturally heals. With their potential to eliminate permanent foreign bodies and reduce long-term complications, bioresorbable implants represent an exciting new frontier in medicine.

Stents: Dissolving Support for Blood Vessels

One area where bioresorbable technology is making strides is in cardiovascular medicine. Traditional metal stents used to open narrowed or blocked arteries must remain in the body indefinitely. However, leaving a nonabsorbable stent poses long-term risks such as inflammation, re-narrowing of the artery, and complications from chronic irritation. Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVS) aim to overcome these issues by providing temporary support to the vessel wall and dissolving once healing is complete.

Made from polymers that safely break down in the body, Bioresorbable Implants stents have shown promise in clinical trials. The Absorb BVS was among the first models approved for use in Europe and other markets. Initial studies found it effective for opening arteries with results comparable to permanent metal stents. Additionally, the scaffold resorbed as intended, leaving the artery with no permanent implant. More recent research continues tracking patients long-term to further verify the device’s safety profile. Overall, bioresorbable stents have potential to transform delivery of minimally invasive treatments for coronary and peripheral artery disease.

Orthopedic Screws, Plates, and More

In orthopedic surgery, implants commonly used to stabilize bone fractures like metal plates and screws undergo the same issue of permanence as cardiovascular stents. Left in the body long-term, they can cause stress shielding of bone, corrosion, and other issues. Bioresorbable fixation devices aim to provide the support needed for healing but avoid a lifetime of a permanent foreign object.

Made of materials like polyglycolic acid (PGA) and polylactic acid (PLA), bioresorbable implants have been used experimentally for applications like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using interference screws to fix soft tissue grafts, as well as for osteosynthesis procedures with plates and screws. Compared to titanium alternatives in some studies, bioresorbable devices showed similar mechanical integrity that endured throughout the bone healing process before fully absorbing within several years. This allows for bone regeneration at the implant site without remnants blocking imaging or requiring later surgery for removal.

Overall, there is strong interest in using these implants more widely for arm, hand, foot, and ankle surgeries as well as other parts of the skeletal system. As material science, manufacturing techniques, and long-term studies continue advancing, bioresorbable fixation holds great potential benefits over permanent metallic hardware. Areas like trauma, pediatric orthopedics, and joint replacement may also see growing applications of these transient implant technologies.

Sutures and Other Soft Tissue Uses

While less widely known outside medical communities, bioresorbable sutures have seen decades of safe usage. Made of PGA, PLA, or other polymers, they provide wound closure comparable to metallic or nylon alternatives before harmlessly vanishing to eliminate later removal procedures. Their use is now common for internal applications like vascular, abdominal, and ophthalmic tissue repairs where suture removal could pose risks.

Research is also exploring expanding the material applications of bioresorbable implants to other aspects of soft tissue reconstruction and regeneration. Meshes, slings, and scaffolds created from bioresorbable polymers offer potential solutions that degrade once their purposes are served. For instance, resorbable hernia repair meshes aim to tackle complications of permanent meshes like chronic pain, adhesions, and risk of bowel perforation. Other future uses in areas like plastic and reconstructive surgery may involve temporary fillers, tissue spacers, or support matrices. As material science progresses, so too will applications of these novel implant platforms.

Regulatory Considerations and Future Outlook

Before bioresorbable implants can enter mainstream use, there are still regulatory and clinical adoption hurdles to clear. Demonstrating long-term safety, efficacy, and reliable degradation profiles remains paramount. Additionally, hurdles exist for insuring reimbursement while device costs remain higher than permanent metal alternatives. With time and experience, such pricing dynamics could shift as well. Overall though, the advantages of avoiding permanent foreign bodies are major factors driving ongoing research and clinical study of these transient implant technologies.

As material formulations continue refining degradation times to match healing profiles, there is strong potential for bioresorbable devices to transform countless areas of medicine. Cardiovascular applications already approved indicate the promise, while ongoing orthopedic investigations are keeping the future of transient implants on the rise. By serving their purpose temporarily before harmlessly dissolving, these novel platforms may come to replace ubiquitous but indefinite metallic hardware and unlock new therapeutic frontiers. With continued progress, the future of implants may very well be defined by what ultimately vanishes without a trace.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it

About Author - Priya Pandey

Priya Pandey is a dynamic and passionate editor with over three years of expertise in content editing and proofreading. Holding a bachelor's degree in biotechnology, Priya has a knack for making the content engaging. Her diverse portfolio includes editing documents across different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. Priya's meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence make her an invaluable asset in the world of content creation and refinement. LinkedIn ProfileĀ 

 

About Author - Priya Pandey

Priya Pandey is a dynamic and passionate editor with over three years of expertise in content editing and proofreading. Holding a bachelor's degree in biotechnology, Priya has a knack for making the content engaging. Her diverse portfolio includes editing documents across different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. Priya's meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence make her an invaluable asset in the world of content creation and refinement. LinkedIn ProfileĀ   

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